Following on from my recent post on How to organise content for your website, I’ve noticed something that’s kept cropping up for discussion over recent projects - how best to organise a portfolio of projects.

The best option to take usually depends on the content available, and in particular the spread of different projects across different categories or sectors.

To give you some ideas, here are what I think are the three most common ways of organising projects:

#1 Categories

This one’s pretty straightforward; you divvy your projects up by categories and present these categories to the user. The user clicks on the category they like the look of, and gets to see all the projects in that category.

Yelo Architects

Sara Reeve Photography

Foster + Partners

Should I use categories for my portfolio?

Pros:

  • works well if you have a good spread of projects
  • you can choose a featured project image to best represent the category

Cons:

  • adds an extra click for the user before they see individual projects
  • not good if you have an uneven spread of projects - some categories might have lots, others might only have one
  • it’s harder for the user to move between different types/categories of project
  • there’s an argument to say it’s a bit old-fashioned

#2 Drop-down menus

As a variation on the theme, some portfolios still use categories but rather than starting on a landing page, the user selects the category from a drop-down menu.

Rick Mather Architects

Pippa MacKenzie

Should I use drop-down menu categories for my portfolio?

Pros:

  • one less click to get to a category
  • easier for users to move between categories

Cons:

  • not great on touchscreen (cos there’s no hover state on a touchscreen)
  • still harder than necessary to move between categories

#3 Filters

Using filters gives the user the choice of what they want to look at; you show all your projects and then ask them to filter by a range of options.

Captured Image Photography

In these next two examples, multiple filters are used, giving the user greater flexibility in finding projects they’re interested in:

ECE Architecture

Cullinan Studio

Should I use filters for my portfolio?

Pros:

  • easy to move between categories or types of project
  • you can show all your projects up front, which quickly demonstrates your range
  • users can select by multiple criteria to find exactly what they want

Cons:

  • needs a bit more thought in planning, to make sure the filters work together properly
  • works best with the right number of filters for the projects available - the fewer the projects, the fewer the filters

Whichever method you go for, make sure it’s the right fit for the number of projects you have - both now and in the future. Think about how your user wants to view your projects, and make it as easy as you possibly can.